While living in Calgary I came to the conclusion that Ben and I had far too much stuff - especially for people who had only been married about a year. Our apartment was full, our storage was full, and there always seemed to be something on the floor to trip over.
The odd thing about having all that stuff was that the vast majority of it was not being used. That's not to say it was useless, it just wasn't serving any purpose in our lives.
So I did what any rational person would do - packed it away and ignored it until we moved and I had to do something about it.
Since then we've taken on a philosophy of simple living - trying very hard not to have excess, to reuse as much as possible, to buy second hand when available, and to purge as needed.
It basically goes like this - if I see something I *think* we need, we wait a month or so to see if we can still happily live without it, or if it really would make our lives better. This is a great way to avoid spending money on gadgets.
Secondly, if I notice something in our home is just taking up space, I box it up and put it in storage. If it stays in storage for a year without being missed and doesn't have any future use (such as books and toys for Hana when she's older), then it's already conveniently boxed up and ready to go to Goodwill etc.
Thirdly, we get accountability with our "problem areas" - for me it's yarn and books, and for Ben it's electronics and games. There are very strict rules about those things coming into the house, usually involving a bit of "one in, two out" philosophy. It's hard - especially for books because in my family it was basically a crime to get rid of a book - but it does keep things under control a bit.
I admit we're not perfect at this yet, but we're learning. Even right now I'm looking at our tower of rarely watched DVDs and wondering if it's time to clean house a bit. Anyone else have any tips on how to avoid excess in life and keep it simple?